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REVIEW: Once & Future

I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.

Now I’m done hiding.

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.


When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure. 

Once & Future synopsis
Once & Future front cover

My Thoughts:

You had me at queer genderbent King Arthur. I was almost instantly interested in this book. An interest that only grew after I finished The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta. I am not fully sure what I expected from this when I started, but to laugh so much was not it.

This book was much more comedic than either the description nor the premise led me to believe. For the most part this humour is the perfect touch. There are though a few parts where I felt the absurdity took away from the overall plot.

This book in the end deals a lot with family, home, and core identity of who we are when these things are taken from us. The Similarities between Merlin and Ari are poignant and make us think. The greyness of everyone’s morality is spot on.

This book goes beyond just being a retelling of King Arthur and strides right into how easily good and evil can be marked upon someone. This is especially seen through the histories of Morgana, Merlin and the Lady of the Lake.

With an expert precision every time a question is answered Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta leave us with even more questions than before. Don’t be put off by the light tone this book has especially in the beginning, it’s not afraid to hit hard at times and go dark places.

One complaint I have seen is that this book is “too gender diverse/sexuality diverse” and that makes it “unrealistic”. This is, to me, untrue, for me (and probably many other queers) what I read was my group of friend and found family. Queer bunch up and stick together, which it appears confuses the hetero cisgendered folks.

Overall I loved this book and cannot wait for the sequel is it 2020 yet?

I give this 4 out of 5 stars.

Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy was released 26 March 2019. You can get a copy from Amazon, Book Depository, Mighty Ape, Whitcoulls, or wherever you like to purchase books.

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Brooklynne is an American born, Transgender Feminist who adores books. She currently resides in Wellington, New Zealand with her Boyfriend, Best Friend and Dog, only one of whom is not named Ryan. She enjoys all kinds of books and can often be found curled up in a corner with one glaring at said dog who refuses to cuddle.
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2 thoughts on “REVIEW: Once & Future

  1. Ahhh I want to read this one so BADLY (I say with it…on my tbr…right now…glaring at me *sighs at self*) I’m going to make time for it soon, I swear.? I loved The Lost Coast and also The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta (have you read that one?! I ADORE their work). And just having funny but also diverse sci-fi? So here for it.

    1. I haven’t read The Brilliant Death yet but definitely is on my to-read list. I think you will love the diversity in this book, it felt real and authentic. Merlin reminds me a lot of one of your characters and Ari is just, yus! Read it or I will come force you to do so with gluten-free baked goods and copious amounts of coffee!

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